April 26, 2000
Personal Security Index 2000
Money, health, safety: How do Canadians feel?
Are Canadians worried about losing their jobs? How confident are they about the health care system? Do they feel safe at home and on the street? These and other questions are answered in the Personal Security Index 2000 (PSI). Based on extensive analysis of national data from Statistics Canada and custom polling, the second annual edition of the PSI from the Canadian Council on Social Development (CCSD) charts changes in our economic and physical well-being. This year's edition of the PSI focuses on changes since the premiere report in 1999.
The PSI contains two sub-indices. One shows annual changes in hard data, such as rates of unemployment, premature death, and crime. The other reports on how Canadians feel about their economic and physical security, based on custom polling data from the Angus Reid Group.
Based on the hard data, this year's report shows that the personal security of Canadians increased appreciably from 1998 to 1999, although people's perceptions of their security did not match the changes indicated by the hard data. The research yielded some surprising results:
People's perceptions of their economic security improved in 1999, despite a drop in several of the hard measures of economic well-being.
Disposable income has yet to recover to the average level Canadians enjoyed in 1989. While it rose $50 per person between 1998 and 1999, disposable income is still $820 less per person than it was in 1989.
Personal debt levels are higher than ever. Average household debt as a proportion of household disposable income increased by 3 percentage points between 1998 and 1999. Average household debt now stands at 102% of annual household disposable income.
Canadians' confidence in their ability to find a job is increasing. Although there were wide differences in confidence levels according to age, gender, province and education level, overall in 1999, 56% of Canadians were confident that if they lost their job, they could find an equivalent one within six months, up from 51% who expressed such confidence a year earlier.
Employment improved in 1999, with the unemployment rate falling to 7.6% from a rate of 8.3% in 1998. The long-term unemployment rate also fell in 1999, from 10.1% to 8%.
Health outcomes improved considerably, but people's perceptions of their health security rose only marginally.
Life expectancy of Canadians is rising, and internationally, Canada ranks near the top according to this measure. Canadians can expect to live 2.5 years longer than their American counterparts. Rates of early death due to disease or injury continued to decline, falling a further 3%.
Despite a decline in premature deaths due to cancer, lung cancer among women is rising and will likely continue to do so if increased rates of smoking among young women persist.
People's confidence in the health care system changed little from one year earlier. In a poll covering 14 industrialized countries, Canadians are least worried about the costs of hospitalization should a member of their family require admission.
Personal safety also showed improvement, but people perceived no change in this area.
Work injuries fell by 2% and traffic injuries fell by 3% over the most recent two-year period.
Crime rates have been dropping over the last seven years, particularly for violent offences and residential break-ins. While Canadians generally report feeling safe in their communities, their perception of safety weakened slightly. In 1999, 74% of Canadians felt safe from violent crime, down from 76% in 1998. In 1999, 64% of Canadians felt that their neighbourhoods were safe from property crime, down from 68% in 1998.
There are noticeable differences in how secure Canadians feel, depending upon their income, education and family status. Three groups consistently rate their economic and physical security lower than do others: people with lower incomes, those with lower levels of education, and lone parents.
Personal Security Index 2000 - Related Material
The Personal Security Index 2000 was produced with the support of Health Canada, the National Crime Prevention Centre, the Insurance Bureau of Canada, and Canadian Heritage.
Canadian Council on Social Development,
190 O'Connor Street, Suite 100,
Ottawa, Ontario, K2P 2R3
Tel: (613) 236-8977, Fax: (613) 236-2750, Web: www.ccsd.ca, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org